Barbed wires on rusted nails can’t hold
lone bulls at home when they smell pasture.
They thrust their bone skulls under barbs,
tongues quivering for a taste of strange
and shove until the post gives way. Days later,
we find wires sagging, reset the post,
and tighten bent wires like a fiddle
and rope the worn-out bull,
wishing there was only a fence
between us and our heart’s desire.
But something with spurs and a rope
would find us, cursing and yelling on horseback,
cutting us from escape down arroyos,
dragging us frothing and wild-eyed
back to the sun-bleached yellow range,
the same whirlpool of buzzards.
– “Riding Herd” by Walter McDonald
Here, where the world is quiet ;
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds’ and spent waves’ riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams ;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest-time and mowing,
A sleepy world of streams.
– From “The Garden of Proserpine” by Algernon Charles Swinburne
The dear old farm has a sacred charm
That extends to farthest bound,
Every rock and tree is dear to me,
And hallowed seems the ground.
Its beautiful stream whose waters gleam
As they dance on to the sea,
Sings sweeter song, as it moves along,
Than other waters to me.
No leaves are so green, as those that screen
The revered old farm-house doors,
From the burning sun of torrid June
When his fiercest rays he pours.
Each grove and field doth a mem’ry yield
Of dear childhood’s blissful hours,
And in accents clear, voices I hear
That have now augmented powers.
My father’s care and my mother’s prayer
Are now ended here on earth,
But as time rolls on, since they have gone,
I shall understand their worth.
There’s a sacred charm in the dear old farm,
For loved ones have trod its soil,
And much I now see, appears to me
As fruit of their faithful toil.
– “Old Farm” by Jared Barhite